January 2017: First episode of TK in The AM for the new year, I blurt out on the air that this is the year I will be quitting my job…my day job. By my birthday…in 4 months.
Quitting the job that pays my rent, that makes me feel secure-ish. Also, the job that I was good at but never wanted. The job that made family proud of me.
I also don’t make promises I can’t keep and I don’t lie, especially to my listeners. So, I have to keep my word.
February 2017: I took a few weeks to actually come to terms with and fully commit to the decision to quit my day job. I always knew. I knew my first day, 17 years ago- that I wouldn’t be staying long. I never applied for pension, never for 401K, I worked per diem, opting for maximum flexibility so I can chase my dreams part- time.
February was also the month I produced The Comet a creative project that would take me away from talk radio and news production and plunge me into the world of directing, sound designing, and audio drama. I thought, if i’m going to be a “starving artist”, I’m going to make ART.
Might as well.
……..Now, Let’s time travel further back……
In 2015, I went to the Audio Engineering Society convention at the Jacob Javitz Center in NYC. Walking through the impressive array of mics and electronic doo-dads I stumble upon a table advertising audio drama. My interest was piqued. I heard stories on the radio as a kid around the holidays, listened to War of The Worlds by Orson Welles, and always wanted to do my own.
I talk to the nice people at the booth and Sue Zizza of the Hear Now Audio Fiction Festival gave me two free tickets to come to a live listening session of performed and recorded stories.
I went and it was magical!
When I got home, I joined their mailing list and for 2 years in between projects and life stuff, kept wondering: howwww do I do this??
My main concern in listening to contemporary audio drama was “Where are the Black voices?” From then on I would talk to other audio producers about my dilemma, ideas, and make it my mission to listen for voices that were from People of Color, anything that would signify a different accent, language, speech pattern, or dialect.
…….Fast Fwd to late February 2017…….
After one of our rehearsals for the live reading of The Comet my first audio drama production. My inbox pings and the Hear Now Audio Fiction Festival has extended it’s deadline to submit for their festival in Kansas City!
Our production was a week away and I was working to place all the sound effects and music all the way until the 11th hour. The night before our production was also the due date for late submissions, I sent in 3 clips from our best rehearsal and crossed my fingers.
I was encouraged by a friend to apply to present The Comet as a workshop at Allied Media Conference in Detroit, Michigan. Why not? So I did.
I’m now a month away from being able to keep my promise to myself and my listeners. Would I be able to quit my job at this rate?
I had one foot out the door working with Brooklyn Deep’s Third Rail podcast as a producer. Good sign…
I was teaching successful podcast workshops. Good sign…
All while still going to my day job, subsisting on naps, bad diet, and no exercise. Something had to give.
At the very end of the month, I hear back from both…. WE MADE IT!
BOTH FESTIVALS… that’s a GREAT sign!
April 2017: I got some more good signs, put my name in the hat for a couple of audio jobs and fellowships that I didn’t get. It seemed one day I was on a high, excited for what my life might be and the next day a nervous wreck, depressed at rejection and paralyzed by fear.
Oh, and my birthday was coming. I had grand plans in mind, that never materialized. (Picture a grand party and I would wear a gold gown, raise my champagne glass as a I gave a speech about the long road travelled…)
I needed to decide. I needed to pick a day.
Mid April, I experienced some microaggressions at the day job and I had ENOUGH. The next day I gave my 2 weeks notice, and just like that I started to enjoy my birthday season. I was free. I allowed myself to receive love, to sleep, to eat well, to not hate certain days of the week.
Without missing a beat, I was picking up freelance jobs, doing more workshops and panels, and was invited on a BET facebook live show to make a mother’s day appearance. I was living for the first time in the history of myself, FULLY as TastyKeish.
All, good signs.
June 2017: Where am I now?
Learning and relearning my worth.
Battling 17 years of shift work related jet-lag (it’s so real).
Saying no to stuff. Saying yes to stuff.
Figuring it out as I go along.